On location: Harper Dennis Hobbs to launch Speedo into global travel retail

(Left) Pentland Brands UK Commercial Director Paul Savrimoothoo and (right) Hannah Tan-Gillies pose for a photo in front of Speedo’s history wall at Pentland Brands HQ

Harper Dennis Hobbs has partnered with Speedo to launch the global swimwear brand into travel retail. It will be introduced to the channel at TFWA World Exhibition in Cannes.

The Moodie Davitt Report Brands Editor & Digital Marketing Manager Hannah Tan-Gillies was on location today (21 September) at the headquarters of Pentland — Speedo’s parent company — to discover the brand’s travel retail ambitions.

The event was attended by Pentland Brands Head of Sports Sales Alistair Mackinnon and Pentland Brands UK Commercial Director Paul Savrimoothoo who gave guests a brief overview of Speedo’s swimming heritage and history.

Founded by Alexander McRae in 1914, Speedo has grown to become the biggest swimwear and swim accessories brand globally and a leading choice for world record-breaking swimmers and athletes.

Speedo was the first brand to launch nylon/spandex swimwear in the 1920s, under the slogan ‘Speed on in your Speedos’.

In 2020, 61% of the winning swim athletes during the Olympics wore Speedos. The Fast Skin swimsuit was worn by athletes who broke 13 world swimming records the year it was first launched.

Pentland Brands Head of Sports Sales Alistair Mackinnon looks back at Speedo’s history as one of the world’s first swimwear brands

According to Mackinnon, the global swimwear industry is set to grow +35% between 2021 and 2025. As the largest swimwear brand in the world, Speedo is in a prime position to leverage its powerful brand awareness and make gains in travel retail, he said.

Commenting on why he believes that Speedo will succeed in the channel, Mackinnon said: “Speedo and swimming are linked to travel. If people are travelling near the water, there’s no doubt that Speedo is the most credible swimwear brand in the planet. Everywhere we sell near water, we do well. If you’re on a cruise ship and you’re looking to buy a reputable swimwear brand, there’s no reason you wouldn’t go for Speedo.”

Harper Dennis Hobbs Executive Director Simon Black said, “There is a huge gap in the market for a middle range swimwear brand and it really jumped out to us that one hugely iconic brand, Speedo, wasn’t present in travel retail. This is why we’re so excited to be partnering with Speedo for its travel retail drive. We’re launching in the UK, Europe and the US with a roll-out planned for the Middle East and Asia to follow.”

The Speedo summer collection is vibrant, colourful and contemporary

Mackinnon discussed the key pillars that are driving Speedo’s business today, namely achievement, innovation, sustainability creativity, community and inclusivity.

As a swimwear brand, Speedo is committed to protecting the ocean and the environment, he added. Several of its lines are made with recycled ocean plastics, including its best-selling Biofuse goggles. It has already sold two million Biofuse goggles this year and planted five million trees.

In terms of creativity, Speedo is exploring new, trendy styles and colours, while respecting its sports heritage. Its vibrant new summer collection reflects this new direction and features pastel, blue and peachy prints and colours.

Speedo said it is committed to helping the community by making swimming accessible to all. Only 42% of children in low income areas are able to swim when they leave primary school, while 95% of black adults in the UK can’t swim, it claimed. In addition, less than 1% of competitive athletes come from ethnic backgrounds.

To remedy this, Speedo has launched the Swim United project, which helps lobby schools, local governments and leisure centres to make swimming accessible for all.

Speedo prepares to make waves in the travel retail channel

According to Harper Dennis Hobbs, the launch plan for Speedo is to focus on best-selling lines and core products. Accessories will be a key focus on airlines, swimwear on cruise and a more varied assortment available for airport stores.

Harper Dennis Hobbs has opened 26 standalone stores in international airports around the world this year, securing 141 listings and 26 different airline placements.

(Left) Harper Dennis Hobbs’ Richard McGratty and Pentland Brands UK Commercial Director Paul Savrimoothoo; (Right) Pentland Brands Head of Sports Sales Alistair Mackinnon and The Moodie Davitt Report Brands Editor & Digital Marketing Manager Hannah Tan-Gillies

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